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Oncologist. 2014 Oct;19(10):1056-68. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2014-0180. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

How to implement a geriatric assessment in your clinical practice.

Author information

1
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
2
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine and Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University Health Network and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium martine.puts@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

Cancer is a disease that mostly affects older adults. Other health conditions, changes in functional status, and use of multiple medications change the risks and benefits of cancer treatment for older adults. Several international organizations, such as the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, recommend the conduct of a geriatric assessment (GA) for older adults with cancer to help select the most appropriate treatment and identify any underlying undetected medical, functional, and psychosocial issues that can interfere with treatment. The aim of this review is to describe what a GA is and how to implement it in daily clinical practice for older adults with cancer in the oncology setting. We provide an overview of commonly used tools. Key considerations in performing the GA include the resources available (staff, space, and time), patient population (who will be assessed), what GA tools to use, and clinical follow-up (who will be responsible for using the GA results for developing care plans and who will provide follow-up care). Important challenges in implementing GA in clinical practice include not having easy and timely access to geriatric expertise, patient burden of the additional hospital visits, and establishing collaboration between the GA team and oncologists regarding expectations of the population referred for GA and expected outcomes of the GA. Finally, we provide some possible interventions for problems identified during the GA.

KEYWORDS:

Cancer treatment; Comprehensive geriatric assessment; Frail elderly; Functional status; Oncology practice; Quality of life; Treatment decision making

PMID:
25187477
PMCID:
PMC4200997
DOI:
10.1634/theoncologist.2014-0180
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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